Though the act was ‘a pioneering       measure’, it remained a dead letter in
usually working days. While a few newspapers welcomed the act as a
humanitarian measure, majority of them condemned it as an effort to strangle
the infant Indian cotton and jute industries. Further, the exemption of British-
dominated tea, coffee and indigo plantations from its operation was
considered as a blatant example of racial discrimination.
Second Factory Commission and Act So another Factory Commission
was appointed in 1884. Mr. Lokhande organised a conference of workers in
Bombay and drew up a memorandum to be presented to the Factory
Commission. This was the beginning of trade unionism in India. The
memorandum included demands for a weekly rest, half an hour recess,
compensation for disablement, payment of wages not later than 15th of every
month, and limitation of working hours from 6 AM to 6 PM. But the second
Factory Act (1891) which was passed on the recommendations of the second
factory commission was another great disappointment, because it provided
only a few improvements like a weekly holiday, fixation of working hours for
only women and children, but the hours of work for men were still left
unregulated.
Second Stage (1918–24) During the second stage, a good number of trade
unions were organised. The Madras Labour Union (1918), was the first trade
union of modern type in India. Its president Mr. B.P. Wadia, an active
member of Home Rule Movement took pains to develop it. Many unions
were organised in other places.
    In 1920, the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) was organised at
Bombay by N.M. Joshi and others and 64 trade unions with a total
membership of about 1,40,000 were affiliated to it. Its first session (1920)
was presided over by Lala Lajpat Rai. While the interests of workers of
different industries were looked after by the concerned unions, the AITUC
looked after the interests of labour in general.
    The rise of trade unions was accompanied by a large number of strikes.
The demands of the workers were an increase in wages, grant of bonus, rice
allowance, reduction of working hours and extra holidays.
    Another important feature of trade unionism in India during this period
was its inability to make much headway in the well established
manufacturing industries like mining, textile, jute, etc. But it was strong and
stable among those who are called